Diary of an international stay: professional and personal growth

My name is Adamantini and I am currently doing my PhD with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) and the Materials Innovation Centre (MatIC), a partnership between the University of Leicester and TWI. This fourth year of my research I have been given the chance to stay at the CTC Technology Centre after being successful in winning a grant from Turing Scheme, an opportunity that has been very valuable to broaden my knowledge in the field of anti-corrosion coatings and the development of innovative solutions.

My Ph.D. research with title “Development of novel coating systems for mitigating corrosion of offshore wind turbines” focuses on the development of anti-corrosion microcapsules for application in offshore coatings, while simultaneously looking into the different electrochemical aspects of these coatings.

The centre has extensive experience in this field of work, which has helped me to broaden my knowledge on coatings and corrosion develop, improve my skills as a researcher and grow my network. Also, working under the supervision of experts on their field has helped me to learn how to solve better different problems that have arisen during the process.

The experience of professionals, whatever the field, goes beyond simple theoretical and practical knowledge in a particular area, but also involves having the ability to solve the barriers that you encounter along the way. International internships improve this important skill, as you have to take your work to a place you don’t know and get out of your comfort zone.

During my stay, I also had the opportunity to visit the MCTS El Bocal marine laboratory, which was a great experience. It is a unique infrastructure at European level and, worldwide, there are not many laboratories that allow you to perform tests in real marine conditions.

For those of us who work in the development of innovative solutions related to the sea and all its variants, facilities such as ‘El Bocal’ are of great value, as they allow us to confirm the correct performance of the projects we carry out in a much more reliable way than in a normal laboratory.

Many students and researchers are thinking about international stays, but are hesitant to do so. Now I assure them that they must do it. It is a very valuable academic, professional and personal growth experience. I encourage more PhD researchers to gain similar experiences by undertaking placements in industrial environments.

Adamantini Loukodimou

PhD Researcher

University of Leicester & NSIRC